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In the post-World War II period, Radioplane built on the successful OQ-2 target drone with another very successful series of piston-powered target drones, what eventually became known as the Basic Training Target (BTT) family. In 1963, when the US military adopted a standardized designation system, the surviving US Army BTT variants became MQM-33s and the KD2R-1, the only member of the family still in Navy service, became the MQM-36 Shelduck. Over 73,000 BTT targets were built in all, and the type was used by at least 18 nations. Some may still be lingering in service.

The MQM-36 was the most highly evolved of the BTT family, but retained the same general configuration as the other members. It was larger and more sophisticated than the first-generation OQ-2A series, and was powered by a more powerful flat-four four-stroke McCulloch piston engine with 95 horsepower. The MQM-36 carried Luneberg lens radar enhancement devices in its wingtips that generated a radar signature of a larger aircraft. Launch was by RATO booster or bungee catapult, and recovery by parachute.

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